Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his philanthropist wife Priscilla Chan recently made a breath-taking announcement that they would be investing a large chunk of money, approximately $3 billion during the 100 years for managing, preventing and curing diseases via their Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
Mark Zuckerberg notes, “This is about the future we all want for our children if there is even a chance we can cure disease in our children’s lifetime — our children can live happier, healthier lives — we’re going to do our part.”
“In those moments and many others we are at the limit of what we understand about the human body and disease, the science of medicine, the threshold of illness and suffering,” Chan said. “We want to push back that boundary.”
Chan and Zuckerberg said the goal would require three areas of focus:
- More collaboration in the field of science
- More advanced technology, AND
- More funding for other projects.
This is the first major investment announced by the couple, who announced last December that they would be giving away 99% of their wealth with the goal of advancing human potential and promoting equality. The initiative previously has worked towards education, including leading a $24 million Series B investment for Andela, which helps train and place African engineers with tech companies, and a $50 million investment in Indian video learning startup Byju this year.
Other themes articulated by Zuckerberg and Chan in San Francisco recently echo ideas furthered by other technology philanthropists who have donated substantial amounts of money to medical science.
The power couple emphasised that they do not think they will be able to fully eliminate the diseases. However, they are hopeful that disease prevention can be advanced. If people do fall sick, doctors will be able to diagnose, cure and treat all illnesses by the end of their daughter Max’s lifetime.
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will also be putting $600 million of the funds towards building a ‘Biohub’ building where researchers at Stanford University, University of Calfornia, Berkeley and the University of California, San Francisco will work together to understand and treat disease.
Other public health investment
Other tech billionaires who have also invested in public health, includes Microsoft’s Co-Founder Bill Gates. His ‘Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’ donated $10.2 billion through 2014 to global health initiatives like fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
Mr Zuckerberg and Dr Chan, who are also part of the ‘Giving Pledge’ have looked up to Mr Gates, announced the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative at the end of last year. At that time, their Facebook holdings were valued at around $45 billion.
About Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
Founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan in December 2015 during the birth of their daughter Maxima Chan Zuckerberg, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is a limited liability company with an investment of $1 billion in Facebook shares in each of the next three years.
The aim of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is to mark an advancement in human potential and promote equality in areas such as health, education, scientific research and energy.
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